Mindy Kaling: I’m Not As Dramatic As My Characters

Mindy Kaling has played some memorably dramatic characters as The Office‘s Kelly Kapoor and Mindy Lahiri in her new show The Mindy Project, but, in real life, she says she’s not really like that at all.

Kaling, whose show has beaten her former network NBC in early ratings, was asked by Entertainment Weekly how much she is like the character Mindy Lahiri, a gynecologist who deals with relationship problems.

Kaling answered:

“40 percent. At the same time, Mindy Kaling is not show-worthy. I’m not as dramatic as the characters that I like to play. But the character is very fun. She’s just so entitled and confident. She’s nothing like Michael Scott, but he always thought that he was going to marry Teri Hatcher even though there was no evidence of that. That’s a really fun, resilient character, and I think that my character has those same kinds of blind spots.”

B.J. Novak, her former love interest on The Office and a consulting producer on The Mindy Project, disagrees. He tells Entertainment Weekly the character is closer to 90 percent Mindy Kaling, though more in worldview than in dramatics.

Mindy Kaling has also become a trailblazer, one of only a handful of Indian-Americans featured on television. But she doesn’t see it as too big a deal, telling Entertainment Weekly:

“I would never to say that’s not important, for any young Indian girls or boys who look at me as an encouraging figure, or that I don’t think that’s so great and makes me feel wonderful. At the same time, I am a super-confident writer, and as a joke writer and as an actress, I’m like, ‘I want to go head-to-head with every person.’ I am an Indian woman and I’m a kind of double minority in this world, but I felt like my pilot was a great pilot, not just for all Indian-American women writing pilots that year.”

Mindy Kaling appears to have crafted quite a success with The Mindy Project. As the Los Angeles Times notes, the show has already done well in the ratings, beating a head-to-head matchup with NBC’s freshman sitcom New Normal in the key category of adults ages 18 to 49 with a 2.4 rating versus a 2.0.